The Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration Safari
The Great Migration is an annual event, an endless march of life, birth, and death for millions of animals. It is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. Each year, nearly two million wildebeest, zebra, and other antelope gather their young, and trek north from Tanzanian’s Southern Serengeti ecosystem to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. They search for greener pastures, following the rainfall. The Great Migration is a unique happening as no other migrations feature such a high number of wildlife, except perhaps butterflies and smaller birds.
The journey is a clockwise circle, spanning two countries and covering 1800 miles/2800 kilometers looking for greener pastures. Wildebeests migrate to complete their biological cycle of mating and calving. Wildebeest mate in Maasai Mara and give birth in South Serengeti, or the Ndutu Conservation Area bordering Ngorongoro and Serengeti.
Predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs follow the herds in anticipation of easy kills, offering excellent opportunities to catch these hunters in action. The river crossing is particularly filled with peril as herds gather in the thousands to ford the Grumeti and Mara rivers, with strong currents and lurking crocodiles lying in wait. Viewing kills and hordes of panicking animals may be stressful to some, but offer extremely dramatic encounters and photographic opportunities.
The migration, either in its entirety or in smaller groups, can be seen in Tanzania during all times of the year.
When and where is the wildebeest migration?
The animals congregate on the south side of the Grumeti River, in the Western Corridor. The river here is normally a series of pools and channels, rather than a continuous rive. The animals provide an annual feast for the Grumeti River’s large crocodiles, but these river crossings are not quite as spectacular as the crossings of the Mara River in the north.
July and August :
The migration continues moving northwards, often spreading out across a wide area. Some head through Grumeti Reserve and Ikorongo, others north through the heart of the Serengeti National Park.
The herds spread out across the northern Serengeti, where the Mara River provides the migration with its most serious obstacle. This river gushes through the northern Serengeti from Kenya’s adjacent Maasai Mara Game Reserve. If you are lucky enough to see the crossing, it is spectacular.
The herds are migrating again, all are heading south, through western Loliondo and the Serengeti National Park’s Lobo area, returning to the green shoots which follow the rains on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti.
November, December :
The short rains begin around early November. Shortly after this (late November & December), the animal arrives on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. These are south and east of Seronera, around Ndutu.
January, February, and March :
The animals stay in the same area, with most wildebeest calves born in February. Every day for about three weeks, an estimated 8000 foals are born.
April, May :
The animals start their great migration north in search of fresh grazing and water.
Great Wildebeest Migration Safari
The Great Migration is an annual event, an endless march of life, birth, and death for millions of animals.